Author Topic: I've got a game, but now I need a system.  (Read 8709 times)

Z

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I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« on: April 23, 2013, 12:18:22 PM »
Here's the deal: I've been planning a game for a good few months now, and I'm very excited to get it off the ground and see how it goes. There are characters, locale, tone, and a boatload of scenarios committed to paper, but it's all just loose story notes without the proper system to set it in. I've done my research on the subject, but my friends are largely ignorant of most RPG systems, so I can't get a good and solid consensus. That is why, now, I turn to the RPPR community. I know for a fact that you guys have more experience with this stuff than I do, and I'd be more than receptive to suggestions.

The game is thus:

The players are on the payroll of a nascent news organization which has quickly earned acclaim/contempt for treating complex cultural strife with a sophomoric and touristic eagerness. Intrusive and biased vox pop interviews with drug addicts and militia members, interference in local customs for footage, gleeful appreciation of guerilla weaponry, and excessive drinking are the hallmark features of their journalism, and it has earned them many a Youtube subscriber. The players are a loose knit group of journalists, cameramen, guides, and mercenaries bound for a newly-formed nation in sub-Saharan Africa in pursuit of the brutal and semilegendary leader of the God's Children Freedom Army. Though very few know him personally, he has singlehandedly adjudicated the largest and most successful armed force in the history of bush warfare, and has raised a flag under which more than a dozen smaller armies have pledged fealty. He's a bad motherfucker, and they want an interview.

So, obviously, I'm not looking for a very glorious system. No supernatural elements or superhuman capabilities. Something very grounded and realistic without being overly complicated. The limitations of equipment are important, and I'd like survival to be a consequence of preparedness. Most importantly, though, is that I want combat to be an extremely undesirable outcome to a situation, to be avoided at almost all costs. I'm not looking for bullet wounds to heal in five minutes, I want them to be a big fucking deal. Explosions can cause momentary deafness, smoke can choke you, gunfire can suppress you, stuff like that. I just like the idea of players reacting when they are dropped directly and unexpectedly dead-center into the shit. I know most of this can be done on the fly with dice penalties and such, but I guess I'm just looking for an engine with that kind of tone.

Any help would be appreciated, of course.

Dom

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Re: I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2013, 01:19:34 PM »
I'd say you could also try your hand at making your own homebrewed D20 system, or doing something like the RPPR Iron Heroes campaign which uses Iron Heroes for the adventuring portions and the Reign rules for kingdom/company management; in your case REIGN could be used for the newspaper organization and how popular it gets, or for the God's Children Freedom Army for how much power it accrues. 

You could also try GURPS. *Insert joke about combat always being undesirable in GURPS just because of the combat rules.*

ethan_dawe

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Re: I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2013, 01:24:11 PM »
GURPS.

Detailed character creation system that is fun.

Combat is fucking deadly.

It has rules for all that "realistic" stuff that happens in combat.



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Re: I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2013, 03:48:50 PM »
Nemesis.

It's free.

It supports average joes but also Indiana Jones.

Guns and knives hurt a lot and take a while to recover from.

It also has a sanity track for violence (both committing and being the victim of)

clockworkjoe

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Re: I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2013, 04:37:38 PM »
Have you asked Vice for permission to use their identity before running this game?

QuickreleasePersonalitY

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Re: I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2013, 05:44:35 PM »
Z,

if you have a group where everyone knows each other, old friends, and who don't contain rules lawyers you might just want to go with more of a narrativist approach, where you all tell stories.  You had better then lay out some basic rules of reality, like the Rule of Violence -- violence will kill/maim/drive you mad.  You could do a variant where you give out some sort of 'benny' to someone who narrates their character in a dangerous or very bad situation -- they can use this benny to take veto one of your narrative decisions in the future.

There are some pretty good game systems that make violence extremely deadly:

 -- Rolemaster (you can literally die from critically failing a walking down the sidewalk check).
-- you could take Call of Cthulhu (BRP) and take away the mythos creatures.  Sanity then goes down when encountering violence.
--  Cthulhu Dark by Graham Walmsley could work great.  There is a fundamental rule in the game that if you don't run from a creature, you will die.  So for your game you could change that to 'whatever is causing the violence'.  You could change the name of the Insanity die to a Violence or Anxiety die.
--  if you want the dice and rules to go into loving details aboot violence:  Millennium's End & Phoenix Command.  But when combat starts, these games bog down horribly.
-- Unknown Armies would work beautifully.  Those who engage in violence eventually become psychopaths.

You can always do what I always do:  make situations where using violence will result in death or maiming; the way out is to use your noggin :3

Hope these idears help
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Teapot

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Re: I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2013, 09:08:51 PM »
I'm on the Cthulhu wagon myself. Make sure you add the SAN losses to violince and horror and you're good to go.

Z

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Re: I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2013, 04:06:29 PM »
I like the idea of using Reign's rules to keep track of power balances in the country, honestly. Looking it over, it seems like a well realized way to handle something I would otherwise be messily abstracting.

The narrativist approach would be best for conveying a mood, but a player recently ran a game with a similar system to that and we all kind of agreed that while it was a fine way to tell a story, it never really felt like we were playing a game (which is appealing in its own way). It's a great way to tell a story, but it's just not out cup of tea, I guess.

I was considering using Call of Cthulhu rules because it is easily the system we have the most experience with (aside from NWoD but barf), so that's definitely something to consider.

Now Unknown Armies and Nemesis appeal to me for two reasons. 1: I am deeply, madly in love with the one-roll engine. So much gets done in so little time, there's a fair amount of abstraction for minutiae, but it still manages to be brutal and detailed. 2: Greg Stolze very much shares my opinion of combat in RPGs, and his guiding belief that combat should be brutish and unfortunate is really refreshing.

Have you asked Vice for permission to use their identity before running this game?


Ezechiel357

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Re: I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2013, 02:24:31 AM »
For a group of new players, not too much into game system, I might go with FATE. As a old gamer, it took me a little while to get my head around the concept as it is so far from what I am used to read, but once my brain made the leap, it looks very smooth.

If you want equipment (or lack of) to be a big deal, you can handle within the system with items Aspects, possibly allowing some stunts. You can also attach some interesting Aspect on valuable items which can triggers some Compel (Pricey camera, giving bonus on related journalist job, but also a compel like attracting unwanted attention, or delicate to handle).

Handling combat situation with chocking smoke and random stuff like that is easy by creating Scene Aspect, which can be either used to create Advantage or force a Compel.

ThadExMachina

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Re: I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2013, 12:09:49 PM »
Hm. On the one hand, I kinda want to go with Ezechiel357, as my love for FATE burns with the heat of the most ancient stars... but I think I'd have to recommend A Dirty World. It's a very streamlined game, meant for playing the exact kind of grim scenario you seem to be putting together.
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Re: I've got a game, but now I need a system.
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2013, 01:49:35 AM »
Why not try FUDGE?  You can literally build the system that you want with it.